Vijay Darda, Chairman, Editorial Board of Lokmat Media and MP, is a successful entrepreneur, politician, social worker, but at the core of his heart he is a journalist for whom journalism is a mission and not sheer business. He is a fiercely independent person and believes that personal liberty must be protected at all times. For this, he always underlines the paramount importance of having eternal vigilance. Media, he feels, can play a proactive role of a watchdog.
Vijay Darda has been a tireless and fearless crusader for freedom of press. A journalist by education and training, Vijay Darda is a quintessential media personality, having unshakable faith in the role and importance of media in a democracy. He has been honoured with several prestigious awards in recognition of his multi-faceted contributions towards enhancing the standards of journalism.
Being the chief proprietor of Lokmat Media and IBN-LOKMAT News Pvt. Ltd., he presides over one of the largest media establishments in the country and is wedded to the ideals of media freedom, wider dissemination of information, citizen's empowerment and democratic governance. While media's expansive role makes him happy, its decline in probity and ethics worries him. As a parliamentarian, he is equally perturbed by media's growing preference for sensationalism at the expense of serious facts. He believes that media can become a vehicle for change by building an important interface with Parliament and the civil society.
As a publisher of one of the leading regional newspapers and a journalist, Vijay Darda has often expressed deep concern over socio-political maladies through his write-ups and often played his role seriously at the national and international platform. During his over four-decade long illustrious career, Darda was associated with media associations like Indian Newspaper Society (INS), Press Council of India (PCI), South Asian Editors' Forum (SAEF), World Association of Newspapers (WAN) France, Commonwealth Press Association (CPA) UK, Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), National Readership Council, Indian Languages Newspapers Association (ILNA), Maharashtra State Journalists Accreditation Committee, Press Institute of Maharashtra, the Advertising Club of India and International Advertising Association, USA, etc.
Vijay Darda was first elected as the vice-president of the INS in 1996, the apex body of all newspapers in the country and in the subsequent year he became its president. During his stint, he took up issues of journalists and newspapers alike such as action on violence against scribes, scrapping of anti-dumping duty on newsprint and also worked for concessional electricity tariff for newspaper establishments.
Darda was also the founder president of South Asian Editors Forum (SAEF). In fact the idea of SAEF first took root during an editors' meet at Colombo in 1999 when the Kargil war was at its peak. Few months later, during the subsequent meet at Kathmandu, most editors unanimously supported the idea and insisted on Darda to take on its leadership. Thus SAEF was born. As the founder president of South Asian Editors Forum (SAEF), Vijay Darda often emphasized that the media can play an effective role in restoring peace in South Asia especially in defusing the tension between Pakistan and India over the contentious Kashmir issue. Darda said in an interview to one of the the leading Pakistani dailies 'The Dawn' that he was proud of the democracy and secularism in India, which has resulted in freedom of expression for the Indian media.
Vijay Darda was conferred with Feroz Gandhi Award, which is one of the most prestigious journalism awards in the country. The Feroz Gandhi award was instituted by National Press India, which was founded by legendary parliamentarian and journalist Feroz Gandhi. The National Press India had selected Vijay Darda for this coveted honour in 1990-91 for his exemplary contribution in strengthening national integration through investigative journalism. Incidentally, Darda was the youngest recipient of this coveted honour at the age of 41 at the hands of the then Prime Minister Mr. P. V. Narasimha Rao.